Hungry Like The Wolves

So, yesterday was perhaps one of the worst matches I have ever had the misfortune to watch as a Liverpool fan, a Liverpool fan who hails from Wolverhampton. For those of you not following my Twitter updates throughout the day, this post should give you an idea of how I was feeling from kick off to the final whistle.

I arrived in the pub about an hour and a half before kick off, sat square in front of the big screen with my Liverpool shirt on I was soon joined my my fella, my brother and my brother's best mate, all in Wolves shirts. Full English downed and smiley pre-match photograph taken, I was feeling relatively positive prior to kick off.

After seeing that Jurgen Klopp had chosen to start Firmino, Wijnaldum and Origi I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be an even weaker side than the XI he chose to start. What I didn't expect was us to be in dire need of the likes of Coutinho and Sturridge within 45 minutes.

Wolves scored before the first minute of the game had even played out. I don't think anybody in the pub (hoards of Wolves fans included) would have seen that one coming. Then on top of that, the goalscorer was Richard Stearman who I happen to know isn't actually all that good and hadn't scored in three years. My only reaction at that stage was laughter, I was laughing my head off. Yes, there were questions of offside but the fact that Liverpool had given so much freedom to Stearman from that free kick was embarrassing. I was laughing because it was terrible but also because I never seriously thought we wouldn't get back into the game, there was 89 minutes to go, re-focus and find the net I thought but of course, that didn't happen.

Wolves were set up perfectly for this game and manager Paul Lambert must be praised, it was no coincidence they were so lethal on the counter attack and his team selection along with his tactics absolutely flummoxed his old friend Klopp. The work rate of players like Dicko allowed the Midlanders to fight hard and hold up play when required. Defensively they were solid and with the pace of Helder Costa at their disposal for their many counter attacks, the Reds just had no clue what had hit them.

At 41 minutes Wolves found a second goal. At this point it wasn't funny anymore. The whole pub including my fella and brother were going crazy, I had a bit of an outer-body experience at that point, just wishing I could be transported elsewhere. Horrible. Absolutely horrible. I had no excuses in my tank, I had no faith that we could actually get back into the game and I was desperate for us to resort to calling up Coutinho who realistically we shouldn't have even needed.

Half time
Without sounding offensive to Wolves, they are a side lulling around in the bottom half of the Championship at present, they shouldn't pose any massive threat to Liverpool, not at Anfield but they were a force to be reckoned with and one of the main reasons for that in my opinion was their hunger and desire to get through to the next round.

Liverpool just did not look arsed at all. The only player on the pitch who showed any glimmer of passion was Woodburn and let's face it, the responsibility of grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and trying to turn around Liverpool's fortunes should not fall to a teenager.

Wolves' goalkeeper used to play between the sticks for bloody Telford and yet we didn't even trouble him. When Origi did finally find the back of the net at 86 minutes he didn't even look bothered. There was no urgency, no nothing. Ok, the pressure was heightened and there was one moment where it looked as though the Reds could have scraped a draw but it was nowhere near good enough.

For me also a key point to note was that it was no coincidence Origi scored from a well crossed corner. There is no point whatsoever in playing the likes of Origi and/or Sturridge if you aren't going to use wingers or full backs to whip in crosses for them to get on the end of. After about 20 minutes yesterday, maybe even less than that it should have been apparent that we were not going to be able to walk this ball into the net. Whenever our lads got anywhere near the 18 yard box they were instantly out of ideas, balls through the middle were being sniffed out by the Wolves defence and when possession was lost the away side would hit us hard on the break.

I don't think we should be afraid to resort to route one tactics and more wing play/crosses if that is what is required. At times it almost feels as though Klopp can't bring himself to instruct his side to play that way and whilst that is admirable, the reason people like Jose Mourinho nab points when they desperately need to is because they aren't afraid to resort to those tactics.

Full time...
At full-time I was utterly speechless. I wasn't even angry I was just embarrassed. Sat in a pub in the centre of Wolverhampton with no real answer as to why we were so shite. Unbelievable. We can take nothing away from Wolves, they thoroughly deserved that win but the sooner they get knocked out and I can start laughing back, the better.

Next up for Liverpool is Antonio Conte's Chelsea and if the Reds get anything less than a win on Tuesday night, we are in big trouble.